The Reuters global sports blog
By Greg Rusedski
The Paris Masters was going to determine who was going to be the last players to qualify for the ATP world finals in London. The last few places were up for grabs and all the players that were in pole position ended up qualifying. The top eight for the field ended up being Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Roger Federer, David Ferrer, Tomas Berdych, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Mardy Fish.
The other story of the week concerned Djokovic and whether he would play after shoulder problems in Basel. If he didn’t play he would have missed his commitments for the master series events and it would have cost him over 1 million pounds in bonus pool money. He did play!
Could Murray continue his unbeaten run since the U.S. Open and win his fourth event in a row?
Also worth noting that Nadal pulled out the week before the event to concentrate on the ATP world finals and the Davis Cup final. With all the other big names playing it wasn’t a big loss. This was a smart thing for Nadal to do because he needs the rest.
Last week’s crazy Cape Town test match between South Africa and Australia, where 23 wickets fell in a day and the visitors narrowly avoided the lowest ever test score, will go down in cricket’s esteemed annals.
They meet again at the Wanderers from Thursday. But would test cricket fans want to see a repeat?
Week Nine had some great finishes with the Giants topping the Patriots, and Ravens overtaking the Steelers in the final seconds of road upsets. A couple of favorites let the Lineman down, as the Dallas Cowboys failed to cover against the underwhelming Seattle Seahawks and 7.5-point favorites Oakland Raiders lost by 14 points to Tim Tebow’s Denver Broncos. Go figure. Otherwise a splendid week of prognostication. This week, cousin Wichita Lineman fills in, “searching in the sun for another overload” or at least enough good picks to match last year’s 4-2 fill-in mark.
As the teams pick up steam for the second half of the season, let’s not waste time on the riff-raff and take our stabs at some of the most meaningful tilts in Week 10.
Week Eight was full of surprises, not many of them pleasant. The St. Louis Rams taking down the New Orleans Saints was the big shocker while the New York Giants and Baltimore Ravens managed to escape with wins but were unimpressive failing to cover.
It all it added up to a disappointing 2-4 week but we bounce back in Week Nine.
Record: 25-23; Last week 2-4; Pick of the Week: 6-2
PICK OF THE WEEK
Atlanta Falcons (4-3) at Indianapolis Colts (0-8)
(Line Falcons minus-7.5)
from Reuters Soccer Blog:
A new tell-all autobiography by Zlatan Ibrahimovic is already making headlines in Sweden this year -- the question is whether anyone outside of the Scandinavian country will notice.
"I am Zlatan" will hit the shelves on November 15, in good time for the Christmas market, and already journalists are being offered the chance to read and report on excerpts from it.
The season-ending WTA championships had many story lines. Could Maria Sharapova recover from her ankle injury to threaten at the year-end championships and become world number one again? Would one of the new major winners lift the trophy? Could Caroline Wozniacki continue her reign as world number one for a second straight year and win the end of season championships for the first time?
This is the first time the end of season championships have been held in Istanbul, Turkey. The crowds have been packed all week so it was an excellent choice of city. The stadium looked great and so did the green tennis court with the purple outer court. The tennis throughout was brilliant.
The St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series this year. Or, to be more accurate, they won four “World Series” this year, at least that is how it felt to many in Cardinal Nation. Oddly, the final victory – the actual Commissioner’s Trophy winner – was in a sense the least thrilling because it meant the, at times surreal, run was over and it was time to return to the bleak reality we as Americans have become accustomed to.
from Reuters Soccer Blog:
No sooner had Molde stumbled across the finish line to win their first Norwegian league title in their hundred-year history than the speculation had started.
Would Molde coach and former Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer be the man to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson at the English champions when the 69-year-old finally decides to retire?
Back on track with a combined 9-3 record over the past two weeks which means I head into Week Eight on Halloween weekend showing no fear for what lies ahead.
Yes, it’s Halloween and the Lineman would never let it go by without all kinds of frightening references.
Record: 23-19; Last week 4-2; Pick of the Week: 5-2
from Reuters Soccer Blog:
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini was quick to say that his team’s 6-1 mauling of arch-rivals United meant little more than another three points in the bag, but the Italian must surely be hoping it could signal a shift in the balance of power.
Having knocked Liverpool off their perch when they won a record 19th league title last season, United now face the prospect of playing second fiddle to City in England and Manchester, should their heaviest defeat to their neighbours in 56 years prove to be more than just a temporary setback.